I've learned to love plants that tolerate heat and drought and still manage to put on a show. This specimen of spinystar, Escobaria vivipara, was spotted near the railroad tracks about 15 miles north of Crawford, NE. Last summer I had a chance to revisit some of the locations that were our best collecting grounds in 2010, and I was happy to find that there are still ample opportunities for new collections on future trips. I didn't collect this beauty, since I couldn't quite reach it.
Spinystar has some possibilities for use in green roofs. It readily propagates itself by forming small offshoots at the base of each spherical plant body, and these readily detach and roll to a new location where they put down roots and get established. This particular plant is unusual in that its offsets seem to not detach easily, but stay put to form a nice clump. Usually, this plant is a single cushion with a crown of pink flowers in spring. Flowering was also unusually late for this plant, but that might be due to colder than normal spring weather.